If anyone thinks they know what I did wrong, or has suggestions as what to try the next time they can let me know. I am still pondering what I did wrong.
I don't want to say that what you did was "wrong" but I do want to say that I think you mixed apples with oranges with your latest experiment. As a result, I think you created a new and different type of pizza, even though it had some of the characteristics of an HRI pizza.
I think where you veered off of the path was when you decided to proof the skin. That is not something that I have seen done for an HRI pizza that is based on an ambient temperature fermented dough. And the only time that I have seen HRI use an ambient temperature fermented dough is to make frozen pizzas. As previously discussed, and as noted in the articles I cited in Reply 331 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6112.msg242613.html#msg242613,
that was true back in 1996 (the date of one of the early articles on HRI's frozen pizza business) and is no doubt true today. Where HRI does proof its skins is in its pizzerias, but it is only after the skins have gone through the hot presses. In its frozen pizza operations, the skins that come out of the dough presses march on inexorably from the dough presses to be pre-baked, dressed, further baked, and frozen.
In your case, should you decide to make another room-temperature fermented dough that is to be true to the methods used by HRI to make its frozen pizzas, you would make your dough, let it proof/ferment at room temperature, dip the dough ball into bench flour to minimize sticking, form the skin (with the fluted rim rather than the round rim of a frozen HRI pizza), dock the skin, pre-bake it (until a light brown), dress it, and finish baking. I think you will also discover that the crust will remain fairly light in color thoughout the entire process. That is because the flour that HRI is using is likely to be an all-purpose flour, or something similar in protein content, and there is no sugar added to the dough, and the fermentation of the dough is too short to allow the enzymes to convert the starch to sufficient natural sugars to contribute to final crust coloration.
If, instead, you elect to make a cold fermented dough, as HRI does for its pizzeria dough balls, you can use the same dough formulation, let the dough cold ferment for anywhere from 12 hours to three days (based on what HRI has said on this point), temper the dough at room temperature when ready to use it, form a skin with the fluted rim, dock it, pre-bake it until a light brown, dress it, and finish baking. You could use the step of proofing the skin for say, 15-20 minutes, as HRI does in its pizzerias, but you would have to pre-bake the skin for a very bried period of time (to simulate the application of heat by the hot dough press) to keep the skin from setting to the point where it cannot ferment or rise anymore. I think I would form the skin (with its fluted rim), dock it, pre-bake it until a light brown, dress it, and finish baking.
I also think that this is a case where it would help if you had a real HRI frozen pizza to hold in your hot little hands and to examine. Since that may or may not happen for some time, this morning I went out in search of photos of a baked frozen HRI pizza to show you. As you might expect, when I went to the HRI Facebook page, I found several photos of the HRI frozen pizzas but the pizzas all looked like they were prepared by food stylists and in the studios of professional photographers. Apparently, it is not good for HRI's business to show crappy, amateurish photos of their pizzas.